SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia and Greece have restarted direct commercial flights after more than a decade following an agreement to try and end a long-standing dispute over the Balkan republic’s name.
Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani was on the Olympic Airlines flight to the Macedonian capital of Skopje on Thursday after talks in Athens. Passengers were handed cookies upon their arrival.
Greece and Macedonia are at odds over the former Yugoslav republic’s name which Athens says implies a territorial claim against Greek territory. In June the Macedonian government agreed to rename the country North Macedonia but the deal requires a complicated ratification process.
Direct flights were halted in 2007 when Macedonia’s previous conservative government named the Skopje airport after the ancient Greek warrior Alexander the Great, angering Athens. The Skopje airport was renamed earlier this year.